Author's Note: So it comes to an end. Here's the epilogue. Hope you enjoyed the story, and thanks mucho mucho muchachoos for the reviews. (Getting an extra 500 something hits in the first two nights... I thought I might as well put an end to this story now.)
They docked in the port with little event. That is to say, little event aside from getting through the throngs of spectators that were there to see the return of their Princess and a good majority of the Senshi. It was decided that the pirate entourage should wait nearby, perhaps get some food and the like, and when they were able, Haruka and Makoto would convince the Queen to willingly give a new ship to the crew that "took care of two rambunctious Senshi for so long."
Thus described, their first visit, preceding even common hygiene, was to the Queen. As the Senshi travelers all filed in, Princess Serenity among them, they were scrutinized by the Private High Order, which consisted of Artemis, Queen Serenity, and Luna (all in full human form). Their grim expressions revealed nothing of their thoughts as Minako stepped forward and regaled the events and results of the voyage.
After the retelling, Queen Serenity merely leaned back, closed her eyes for a few moments, and then shared a glance with Luna.
With a small sigh, the Queen then proclaimed, "The position in the Navy will be accepted without question to Haruka and Michiru, as their previous relations at sea and with it are unparalleled in the Kingdom. Makoto, I personally welcome you back to the Kingdom as one of the Inner Guard. Your presence has been missed greatly. Ami, Setsuna, I leave it to you to take the Stone of Lust and study it; the mechanics of which may prove very useful in coming generations. Setsuna, I also depend on you to continue your work as (whatever position in the Kingdom she has officially), as well as the educator of... the young Hotaru. I trust that the trans-pirate pair will be effectively reeducated by our two water Senshi respectively. I believe that is all?"
The smile on her face revealed that she very well knew that she had left out the most important aspect, and Rei stepped forward to mention it. "With all due respect, Your Majesty, what is to become of Minako and myself?"
If they had been close enough to see it, the Senshi might have spied the glint of teasing good-humor sparkling in the Queen's eyes. "What indeed?" She paused to thoughtfully tap her bottom lip. Then, without a second glance, she asked Luna, "If you please, Luna, won't you lay out your own opinion?"
Luna's grim expression was still evident as she furrowed her eyebrows, one arm connecting her chin to her opposite arm folded across her stomach. "This is quite a dilemma, isn't it? It is unquestionable that they must be punished for delaying the celebration of Lady Minako's Orientation, disappointing so many people, laying so much food to waste..."
Artemis protested, in favor of Minako, "But they also brought back the last two Senshi, Uranus and Jupiter. They must be credited for that."
The Queen mused, "Of course, to bring three other Senshi to sea, along with my daughter... that, too, has caused a disruption. Had we been attacked..."
Setsuna quickly intervened, "Then I would have never permitted it, Your Majesty."
Queen Serenity nodded absently. "True enough. Your guidance has always been well appreciated. All right, Setsuna, what do you suppose I should do about this?"
The Senshi of Time hesitated, before reluctantly admitting, "I'm afraid as I was partially involved in this matter, I cannot be an efficient judge."
The Queen sighed again, nodding. "I suppose you have a point there. Hmm... Luna?"
Luna seemed to ponder it a bit longer, before relenting to the anxious faces of the pair in question. "I don't believe we have any choice but to relinquish the surprise we had in store for Minako. We had already planned to give it to her upon her return- it should make no difference that she has returned three days after her own anniversary of birth."
Queen Serenity made a quite unqueenlike gesture, snapping her fingers as if a light bulb had turned on. "I have it! Everyone aside from Rei is free to leave now. Minako, it is of your own free will whether you stay or leave."
Minako answered instantly, "I'll stay."
She nodded, as if expecting this. "Very well. As I said, the rest of you are dismissed."
The Senshi as one bowed, and slowly filed out the way they had come. Once the guards had closed the doors again, the Queen leaned forward and considered the pair before her. "Now darlings, come closer."
Unconsciously, Mina and Rei exchanged glances, but did as the Queen bid. As soon as they were close enough to touch, the Queen stood, and placed a hand on each of their shoulders. Softly, she murmured, "Are you aware Minako? Are you aware of the true meaning of it all, should you truly love Rei?"
There was something about the Queen's tone that hinted at a hidden meaning, but Mina nevertheless answered, "I do."
The Queen made no motion of acknowledgment, and turned to Rei. "And do you, Rei, in turn, know exactly who you are to Mina?"
Rei was tempted to raise her eyebrow in question, but uttered, "I do."
Queen Serenity released a large sigh, and removed her hands from their perches. "I truly don't believe you do. Luna, please hand me the scroll."
Luna did as she was bid, and placed in the Queen's hand, a somewhat thick rolled up piece of parchment. After unfurling it, the Queen turned it around so that Mina and Rei might both look upon it. "Do you recognize the names written here, Mina?"
The slow widening of her eyes was proof enough, though she murmured, "Yes... yes, Your Majesty."
Rei could then not help but mutter, as she looked down the triple columns each line numbered and followed by a name, "My... my name. I'm... I'm the last one. What... what is this?"
At that, the Queen raised an eyebrow, even as Mina was jumping up and down squealing, going between looking at the scroll and hugging Rei. "I would have imagined that Mina might have already told you. Pray tell, did she ever mention to you the Vesuvian (from Venus but I like how it sounds) curse, the one that befalls every fifth generation of their royalty, bestowed on them by the one known as Adonis (Sailor V reference to Kaitou Ace! Yay!)?"
"Yes..." A slow dawning startled Rei, and she finally looked at Mina, and then at the scroll, and back. "Wait a minute, then this is..."
Mina nodded excitedly. She then recited, "The fifth descendant shall suffer for all of eternity, never to succeed with love, unless their heart is tragically broken a thousand times over by a thousand lovers afore their twenty-first birthday. However, should the day come that this curse is broken, the last shall be so dubbed, Her Chosen One."
Rei stood there, shell-shocked, before she managed to retort, "You had a thousand lovers before me and before your twenty-first?"
At that, an immense blush spread over Mina's cheeks, but whether that was from the happiness of this occasion, or from that particular detail, an onlooker would not have known. Nevertheless, Mina stepped back, flipped her hair over her shoulder, and answered, "What can I say? I am the Senshi of Love, you know."
Still aware of the Queen's presence, Rei playfully requested, "Your Majesty, have I your permission to kiss this skank now? (playfully, mind you)"
"Denied." The pair started, and looked at the Queen, who only smiled at them. "Hygiene is priority, and then you are free to celebrate as you wish. You are dismissed."
They both bowed, and then all but scurried to the door. Just as it was closing, Luna recalled, "You didn't tell them about Rei's 'gift'."
The Queen raised her eyes to Heaven, a slow smile spreading in place of the old. "I didn't, did I? Oops. No matter, they'll discover it soon enough."
Not even five minutes later, as the Queen was leaving the room, nearly everyone in the Palace heard Rei yell, "HEY! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY ROOM!"
The yell was rather called for, as in place of her bed chambers, there was only an indoor bathhouse and massage treatment at work. However, a chambermaid quickly scuttled over, whispered something in her ear, and the blood rushed to Rei's cheeks. Head hung, she nodded, thanked and apologized to the maid, took Mina's hand, and dragged her to Mina's room, which had been extended to also fit Rei's things, in a rather uncluttered manner.
It was then that Mina realized what had happened, and she hugged Rei as she considered it a double birthday present for her. "Yay, we're roomies!"
Rei only groaned, realizing the truth of the Queen's words. "Hygiene first, Minako. Come on, let's get that over with."
With that comment, Mina also realized, "Hey, you think the Queen meant for us to be able to bathe together in a spacious area?"
At that, Rei stopped, groaned, and silently rummaged around the room for a change in clothes.
While they were traveling back, Mina noticed how strangely depressed Rei was, and asked her if she really wasn't happy with the arrangement. Rei shook her head, not answering as they arrived, she shed her clothes, scrubbed herself pink, rinsed off, and dived into the hot spring. Soon following her, Mina swam up to Rei, who wasn't moving anymore, and poked her side. No response.
Slightly worried, Mina tapped her cheek a few times, listening to her breathing, and realized Rei had fallen asleep. Mina grinned, deducted the hygiene safely had a check by it, and proceeded to carry Rei out of the water.
Minako dried them both off, and made sure both of them had on suitable robes, before picking Rei up again and carrying her back to their room.
Her last thought as the door closed behind her was,
Bad move, Rei-chan, falling asleep like that. Now I can do whatever I want, and never hear a peep out of you... (Insert evil cackle)
A/N: Finished! n.n Hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it! n.n
Thanks for all the reviews up to now (and so I get reviews for the last chapter, please tell me what you liked most about it, and the parts that could have been better!) Ciao!
Thinks to self-
Now the real question is... should I write another SM fic? Hmm... --° Or should this be my first and last...? (Quit while I'm ahead type deal) :shrug: Ah well. Ciao again!
By self consensus, since this epilogue really does seem too short... to follow are the scenes that seemed too long, or somehow inappropriate (for the story not as far as ratings go) that I couldn't fit in up to now. Review for that as well, please! -
Bloops, Beeps, and Whatnot
Part 1: Bedroom Talk (and no, not that kind of bedroom talk... sheesh)
"Ne, Rei-chan," Mina drawled. Rei mumbled something incoherently, and turned away from the call. Undaunted, Mina wrapped an arm and leg around her raven haired lover and whispered in her ear, "You promised you would tell me what I did to make you change your mind on the trip."
There was a lengthy pause, and then Rei rolled over again so that they were nose to nose. "You want to know?" An enthusiastic nod. "You really want to know?" Further nodding. Rei sighed, momentarily closing her eyes. "You distracted me. Annoying as that is, that's all it took."
For obvious reasons, Mina was caught off guard. She pressed, "Oh, come on! You were a lot angrier than usual- even if I were to distract-"
"It's much easier than you might think, considering I was operating on lack of sleep for oh, three days? It was hard enough finding reasons to be even half as angry as I tried to act."
The last word surprised Mina, "Act?"
An affirming nod. "I wanted to see how far you would go. Sorry- I think I took it a little too far. Are you sure you're all right?"
Mina grinned. "What, the mirror thing? Completely recovered. But really... are you sure it was just an act? I've never seen you that seriously cranky..."
"Like I said, it was hard enough just to develop enough anger to confront you like that. I can never stay mad at you, Mina. I gave up trying after you showed me what is apparently your 'mind'. You're one wacky obsessed person, by the way."
At that, Mina giggled. "You're the only one I think of Rei. Hmm... so what you said..."
"Most of it was the truth, but truth that I've long since gotten over. I don't care if you could tell right off the bat when I started to like you as more than a friend... I don't care that Setsuna stayed in your company under possibly intimate situations... Because... of course I trust you. I trust you more than I trust myself- which may have been what caused a few bumps."
They lapsed into another silence, which Mina elected herself to break. "You said you didn't want my doll anymore. Why?"
A small grin crossed Rei's expression as she affectionately tucked a stray lock of hair behind Mina's ear. "Isn't it obvious? I could never imagine hurting you like that. It hurt me enough to see you like you were then, for me to lose my resolve."
Mina sighed softly, leaning over to kiss Rei. "Well, I'll forgive you for the both of us if you give me my birthday present."
Rei blinked in surprise. "Didn't you know? The day we found the Lust Stone was your birthday. Hmm... well if that wasn't enough... let me go for a sec."
Mina hesitated, but released her. As Rei fumbled around in the dark room, Mina commented, "Well, I will admit that that probably became my happiest night ever, but..."
Rei returned, thrusting something far too close to Mina's face. By the dim lamplight, she held the object, and her eyes instantly lit up with glee. Rei asked, "What do you think of it?"
"It" was a classic Rei doll, the perfect size for snuggling in bed. Mina squealed in her happiness. "Ooh, it's so cute! Where'd you get it?"
"Squeeze it, and see what happens."
Mina did, and had to restrain herself from choking it to death in a hug as Rei's voice came from within it, "In the name of Mars, I'll protect you!"
Wanting to hear it again, Mina squeezed, and was surprised to hear it say, "Remember- you're never alone, my Princess."
It caused Mina to blink slowly, and look up at Rei. "Princess...?"
Rei nodded, plucking the doll out of Mina's hands and placing it on the nighttable. "This doll is for Usagi. I'm hoping Mamoru won't mind, but I know it'll be a while longer before Usagi can really accept that I love you and only you. A consolation prize, you might say."
Mina grinned. "She'll love it."
Again Rei nodded, sitting on the edge of the bed. "That's what I'm going for. One should be made for Setsuna, too, of you, obviously, for the same reason. To be honest, she's the one that went into the future, put together the doll with my voice, and brought it back. Say it's for me so you can surprise her sometime after she brings it back, but I really don't need another doll to sleep with."
Mina blinked. "Another...?"
Now Rei grinned, lightly stroking Mina's cheek. "Naturally, since I have my big baby doll right here."
The grin spread to Mina's face, and she pulled Rei towards her for a kiss. "Mmm... I have my own life size doll too, then, don't I? I love it."
"Do you still want me to give you my 'gift'?"
Mina raised an eyebrow, but nodded. Rei extended her other hand, and unraveled the fist. Mina's eyes glowed as she grabbed it, almost afraid that it would disappear if she let it. It was the matching die that she had lost. "Where... where did you find this?"
Rei moved to lean against the wall, and pulled Mina to sit in front of her. "In the remains of the snake I killed. If I hadn't put a ward on them to know where they are, I would never have known to look for it there."
It took a moment, but soon, Mina's eyes widened and she turned to look at Rei. "You knew where I was the whole time?"
Rei wrinkled her nose. "I should have, but no, if I did, it wasn't because of the die. Because, I killed the snake the morning after, remember? I was basically with you ever since. You probably sensed where the snake was because of the die though. How a snake that huge came to eat a die... ugh, I don't want to even think about it."
There was a silence as Mina rolled the die between her fingers. It had obviously been purified since its encounter with the snake but... Mina shook her head. Reaching out, she took Rei's hand and wrapped her fingers around the die. "You keep this one. I still have the other one, and we'll be able to keep tabs with each other."
Rei let out an exaggerated sigh, as she reached over and placed the die next to the doll. "You're impossible to please. What can I give you for a gift that you won't make me take back?"
Mina grinned, touching foreheads with Rei. "Well, I don't suppose I was officially given my big Rei doll yet..."
"I'm all yours," Rei replied instantly, sealing the deal with a kiss.
Now and forever.
Part 2: Rei's Birthday Breakfast (directly from my manual journal, so it may seem a bit different than the rest of the story- just a bit) (this may not have a connection to "Part 1" but if it does, Rei has not given the doll to Usagi yet)
"Rei-chan..." The Fire Priestess moaned and turned away from the voice. But then it appeared again at her ear, as she distinctly felt an arm and leg trap her to the bed. "If you don't want to get up... at least humor me for a while, won't you?"
"Mina-chan..." Rei grumbled as she turned back to face her lover. She was met with a simple, lingering kiss that yearned to be made into more. That was when Rei remembered what day it was. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, Mina beat her to it.
"Happy 21st, Rei-chan. Ready for my impromptu bedroom present?"
Rei, suitably more awake, laughed and brushed her nose against Mina's. "If it's for the bedroom, it can wait until tonight, can't it? I don't want to go through that ceremony with the cheesy grin you always make me have afterwards."
To this, Mina laughed as well. "It's your birthday, so I suppose it's only fair, but if not now, then let's go get something to eat. I'm starved." She paused to wink at Rei. "A certain somebody wouldn't let me have dessert..."
Rei kissed away Mina's pout, before consenting to get out of bed. Mina sat up to watch, as Rei knew she would, while Rei walked across the room, completely unclothed. Reaching her dresser, she hummed softly as she picked out her outfit for the day and started for the adjoining shower/bathroom. As her foot touched tile, however, her bedmate latched on from behind. "We should conserve water. I'll wash your back and you wash mine?"
Rei laughed again as she eased Mina into the shower booth, following her in. "And I suppose hair and front are extra side bonuses?"
Mina giggled, turning on the water and rubbing the shampoo in her hands. "Well, if you insist..." she started on Rei's hair as Rei returned the favor.
Half an hour later saw them both clean, dressed, and perfectly awake. At breakfast, Mina started up a gentle tease with her foot, and with a small smile, Rei met her halfway. Next to Rei, Makoto and Ami sat side-by-side, smiling and blushing as either one would at some point offer the other a bite of their food. Across from them, Haruka and Michiru were glaring at each other, but one careful observer might also see that gleam of mischief and playfulness in their eyes.
Setsuna was at the end of the table, coaxing a ten-year-old Hotaru to stop fussing and eat her vegetables. Even as Hotaru adamantly refused, there was a shimmer of motherly affection in those garnet orbs that left none of her friends to question that she was happy with the arrangement. Being beside Hotaru, Michiru gently dabbed a piece of Hotaru's broccoli in her own sauce, and as Hotaru opened her mouth to question, she plopped the flavored piece inside. Hotaru's eyes lit up like the fireflies from which she was named, and she eagerly asked for more of the magical sauce that could turn disgusting roots into delicious fruit. With an indulging grin, Michiru placed the almost entirely full saucer on an empty spot of Hotaru's plate. The Princess, at the head of the table, watched this with unease. Especially the two Senshi beside her, the Fire Priestess in particular.
"Rei-chan..." The Princess' call fell on deaf ears as a familiar clack of boots was heard by the door. Snapping her head to look over the Princess' head, Rei's eyes visibly lit up. Snapping her heels back onto her feet, she stood in the same fluid motion. Everyone's eyes were on the Priestess as she nearly flew to the door to greet Prince Endymion.
All of their eyes promptly bugged out as Rei leaned up slightly, and kissed him full on the lips. Not only that, the Prince had wrapped his arms around her torso and was returning it!
Little rivulets of anime tears flowed down Mina's cheeks, but she kept silent as she promised she would. The Princess, however, snapped out of her shock and stood, demanding, "Rei-chan! What are you doing!"
Rei gave Mamoru one last peck, and then a wink, before turning to face the Princess with a sultry grin. Licking her lips, she answered smoothly, "Well, I was giving him a greeting kiss. Something wrong with that?"
Usagi had crossed the distance instantly, clutching Mamoru's arm as Rei lazily leaned on the other. "MAMO-CHAN's MINE!"
Rei gave her a cheshire cat's grin as she raised an eyebrow. "Really? From the way you acted on the trip, I could have sworn you made it clear that he was free pickings, considering you started trying for other people."
That quieted Usagi down some, but she still protested, "You... you're different Rei-chan. I know I love Mamo-chan now, but... I loved you first! And... I think I still do..."
"Well then, by your logic, I can still love Mina-chan most, but have feelings to act upon with Mamo-chan, right?"
Usagi's eyes blazed. "NO! Mamo-chan's all mine! You can't have him!"
If the first kiss had surprised everyone, they were moreso surprised when Rei suddenly leaned over and kissed Usagi, with Mamoru in his front row seat.
As Rei parted, she smiled languidly at Usagi and whispered, "Since I was five, I've known it was my duty to protect you. We will never be a couple, and we will never have a romance. So every time I see you pining for me, or anyone other than Mamoru, I'll give him a kiss or two to reassure him. I know you, Usagi. Don't be as selfish as to forget Mamoru. Every time you come close to cheating, know that I'm watching over you, and I can easily have Mamoru cheat on you right back. Therefore, to stay guilt free, forget any romantic feelings you have for me."
The whole procession was silent, and then a light bulb clicked on in Usagi's head. "If you make Mamo-chan cheat on me, then what about Mina-chan? You don't care how she feels?"
Mina suddenly came up behind Rei, and pulled her back from the Royal couple as she hugged her. "Ever since Rei told me of it the other day, I've wholeheartedly supported her idea. Personally, I know how well being the Senshi of Passion influences Rei-chan's actions," Mina grinned as a light blush came to Rei's cheeks, "and that if she has a mind to follow through, she will. As the Senshi of Love, I can feel surges of romantic emotions in a large radius. I can also differentiate between who's important enough to take notice of and who's not.
"I trust Rei. I trust her with my life, as well as yours. Even if she does 'technically' cheat on me, I won't care, because I know above all others, we love each other. I don't know if you and Mamoru will ever get to that point, but you should strive towards it."
As there was not much, if anything, that Usagi could rebuke at, she sighed and turned to Mamoru. "I... I'm sorry, Mamo-chan. Rei-chan and Mina-chan, too. I... I haven't really been... trustworthy... or trusting, it seems."
Mamoru kissed her head, wrapping his arms around her, as Rei had long since released him. "There's nothing for you to feel sorry for. Out of sight, out of mind. Come on, let's finish breakfast."
Everyone grinned, and then laughed, as Usagi's stomach growled- so intent had she been on her thoughts of Rei and Mina's relationship, that she had failed to even eat a morsel of food since last dinner. Sheepishly, she murmured, "I love you, Mamo-chan, but my stomach cares more about getting food."
Mina kept Rei where she was as Usagi and Mamoru sat down. Softly, she whispered, "You're way too good of an actress, Rei-chan...! From my angle, I would have thought you really did love him... and more than me, too!"
Rei chuckled softly. "And what would you do if I did?"
"Mmm... I might have to convince you with my unique charm to pull you back to my side of the fence."
"The ceremony will start soon. And then the official opening of gifts. Do you have a present that's... suitable for an audience?"
"What's not suitable about-"
She laughed. "Of course, of course. And it isn't scary this time, promise."
Part 3: The Ceremony (Also a journal excerpt. I have no idea what was going through my mind at this moment... but I hope you enjoy it all the same)
'The drum roll is unnecessary...' Rei couldn't help but think as she and Mina entered from opposite sides of the room.
Preparations had been hectic, as combining the all-important "Ladyhood" ceremonies of two Senshi had never actually been accomplished, or attempted, prior to this event. Both Senshi were constantly pestered in the last three days between their homecoming and Rei's birthday with the specific arrangements, as many of their originally-separate plans would clash horribly.
"Why do we have to change the music?"
Mina protested to an extremely bored looking Rei, "Rei-chan! They wanted to have the orchestra play all those depressing songs...!"
Rei blinked in surprise. "Combre? Ah, I know. That's what I told them to choose- before we left on the trading expedition."
Mina plopped down beside her. "You... don't you want something... I don't know- happier?"
Rei continued knitting- an activity she only did when she was alone with Mina during the day. "Why? I'm gaining permission to get back into the House that I'm actually glad kicked me out. Why is that a happy event?"
Mina's hand on her cheek prompted Rei to look up to see her smiling. "Because it's our first celebration after getting together!"
"About that..." Rei paused, casting her gaze down. "Just how public do you want to make this?"
At that, Mina leaned forward and whispered her answer into Rei's ear. At the time, Rei hadn't been sure of whether she should feel surprised, happy, or horrified.
They had both reached the center stage now, and after giving each other reassuring smiles, turned to face the Head Priest.
"We are gathered here today to welcome these two young women into their respective Houses as proper young Ladies. If there are any present that feel that Rei Hino and Minako Aino should not be so sworn in, speak now, or forever hold your peace."
Once it had become clear that the procession had no objections, even as the spotlight Senshi fought to keep their faces straight, the Priest continued.
"... Rei Hino. On your honor as a daughter in the House of Flame, do you swear to always hold your House above all other Houses, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, to protect of your own accord- until death do you part?"
"I do," Rei answered solemnly. She bent low as the Priest placed a crown of fiery laurels upon her head.
As she straightened and Mina stepped forward, the Priest repeated, "And do you, Minako Aino, on your honor as a daughter in the House of Light, do you swear to always hold your House above all other Houses, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, to protect of your own accord- until death do you part?"
"I do," Minako also bowed as she was crowned with a golden laurel.
"Then by the Holy Power entrusted to me, I now pronounce thee Ladies of the Kingdom. Blessed be your future, which you now hold entirely within your own grasp."
Rei and Mina turned to each other, grinning like maniacs, their hearts pounding in unison along with the anticipation of what they were about to do. Both raised their right hand to cup their opposite's cheek, and whispered, "So mote it be."
Before all the members of the Court, in front of the Priest and High Order, in clear declaration of their relationship, Mina and Rei pulled together like magnets, allowing their lips to meet in a single soft, beautifully executed, kiss.
The band stopped playing on a sour note. The audience, and even their fellow Senshi, gawked openly. It seemed almost deathly cold.
And then, Mina and Rei separated, and turned so that they were back to back. After making several intricate and synchronized hand movements- all of which were highlighted in the glows of respective red and gold- they called out, "Heart and Flame... UNITE!"
The entire room came alive with shooting particles of light, dimmed only by the shimmering image of a flame molded into the shape of a heart that floated above the newly reinstated Ladies.
"Everyone!" They grinned, exchanging glances. "Thank you all for coming to witness this day! From this moment on, we'll be troubling you... but we'll still keep trying to protect our Kingdom! Adieu!"
During the farewell dialogue, the flames rained down, ruining the picture like a fresh mural on the sidewalk when met with a hazy sprinkle. Though it seemed to target only the Ladies, rather than be hurt, they seemed to be enjoying it quite a bit. As the last of the flames disappeared from the air, so did the couple, with linked hands and glowing a bright gold, apparently disintegrate into nothingness.
The room was silent for a while longer, before someone spoke out, breaking the spell and sending the entrapment into a state of utter chaos.
But the remaining Senshi, they only looked on, slow grins spreading across each of their faces. With the smallest of breaths, each of them critiqued the performance in unanimous unison. "Amazing."
(Note: They did not die. Obviously. Just teleported. And they'll be back by tomorrow... or next week... whenever their private celebration decides to end.)
Part 4: The Kiss (takes place during the last Ruka/Michi portion, but cut out due to the resulting chaptershortness) (Haruka's POV)
A sudden flash came to mind. So excited was I in relaying it to her, I was a bit out of order in my telling. "It'd be perfect! Harnessing the currents in the air and sea, appeasing for clear ocean tidings every day- Mako-chan will most likely return to the Kingdom, now that she has the opportunity to. Oh, Michi, please say you will!"
"Will... what?" She seemed honestly confused now, and she leaned her head back to regard me with those aquamarine eyes of hers. "Haruka, whatever are you going on about?"
At that, I colored a little, and turned her around to clutch at her hands. My excitement wouldn't be set aside for anything but the most absolute refusals. "Come with me to sail the seas, Michi! We'll be a great combination, and we can also get to know one another all we want!"
Michiru snatched her hands back. "You want me to become a pirate? Not even for you, Haruka, would I do that."
I stood there watching her, and then considered if I could sail the seas freely without being a pirate. There were other professions, no doubt, most likely all cleaner, and more honest... for Michi's consent... "The Navy then. The Royal Navy. If I go back with you to the Kingdom, and ask for the Queen's pardon, and a place in her Royal Navy, will you join me?"
Watching her, I saw suspicion flicker in her eyes, but also, a spark of hope, and happiness. "You would return to the Kingdom regularly for reports?"
To that, I unconsciously flinched. "Oral, maybe. Not written. I've never been good with all that, you know, Michi."
There was a mischievous gleam in her eyes then. "Perhaps, then, if the Navy accepts you, I, too, will be required to go, as no one else will be prepared or knowledgeable enough to fill out a proper report."
My eyes must have lit up, just before I gave her a wide grin, considering her resolve broke completely and she giggled, and then laughed. "So does that mean you'll come?"
"So long as you remain in the Queen's jurisdiction, and in honest dealings, yes, Haruka."
I picked her up and twirled her all around in my happiness, though she laughed, screamed, and told me to put her down before she and I both regretted it. Still grinning like no sane person should have been allowed to, I pulled her towards me, kissing her in the same motion.
Distantly, I recognized that her arms had linked over my shoulders, bracing her just as her legs wrapped around my waist were. But I paid that no heed, as for the moment, I concentrated on memorizing her scent, her taste, her technique that had been developed in our time apart even. It was exquisite, like nothing had ever experienced before now. I wondered if it was because she had so many suitors to practice upon, if only to tease while I was away, but that thought was quickly filtered out. For I realized it in my second thought, that whether she had never kissed another prior to me, or whether I had a million to compare it to (which I do not, thankyouverymuch), it wouldn't matter, as we were driven between the blindest and yet most endearing emotions of them all: love.
As we broke apart for air, I smiled at her flushed complexion, and whispered, "I love you, Michi."
"Well, I hate you." Before I had any chance to ponder these words, she captured my lips again, undoubtedly overusing them to a swollen state, even as her tongue reentered my mouth, and mine hers.
This time, when she made us part, her eyes gleamed as she added the last of her statement. "Haruka Tenoh, now and forever, I'll hate you so much, only a fool would not classify it as love."
OWARI- simply because I cannot find any other scenes to add on. You'll have to use your own imaginations now, because this story is extremely unlikely to have a sequel (not that I really think it needs one)
Have a nice day! And you know what they say- Reviewing always makes my day! Ciao!